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The NFL is discussing TV deals that could be 10 years and far exceed $100 billion in total value with its TV partners, The Post has learned.
The end result could lead to mostly the status quo, except for Thursday nights where Amazon is emerging as a potential front runner for the package.
Sources said that the league and its current partners are working on frameworks for agreements that would keep the Sunday afternoon games on CBS and Fox, “Monday Night Football” on ESPN/ABC and “Sunday Night Football” on NBC. ESPN/ABC is expected to add Super Bowls when all is said and done.
The deals are not completed so the NFL could change course, but this is where it is trending, according to sources. The NFL is the highest-rated programming in television, which gives the league exceptional leverage and they are expected to receive substantial increases over their current contracts.
With ABC/ESPN added to the Super Bowl rotation in 10-year contracts, the NFL may just assign Super Bowls for eight seasons. In this scenario, ABC/ESPN, NBC, CBS and Fox would receive two Super Bowls each. The NFL could auction off the final two Super Bowls at a later date, if it goes with the 10-year term.
ABC/ESPN, owned by Disney, has wanted better games if it retains its Monday Night schedule. There is a possibility of late-season flexible scheduling. While it would likely be more limited than Sunday nights, it could be done to eliminate the December MNF stinkers.
Some select ESPN Monday night games are already simulcast on ABC, but this could become a greater number or a weekly setup in the next contract.
The NFL declined comment.
The NFL currently approaches $10 billion a year in broadcast revenue. Just ESPN, Fox, CBS, NBC and DirecTV have contracts that add up to near $8 billion per season.
Amazon Prime becoming the main home of Thursday night makes some sense. The Sports Business Journal reported that the networks have told the NFL that they do not want Thursdays. CBS, NBC and Fox, the latter which currently owns the rights, have all tried their hand at it.
Disney/ESPN/ABC has been looked upon as a spot that could sign two packages, possibly adding Thursday, but they are focused on one at the moment. NBC Sports, with its strong production on Sunday, looks as if it could hold off ABC/ESPN’s interest in what has become the best primetime set of games.
The NFL could try to force one of the networks to take Thursday again. At this point in negotiations, though, that doesn’t seem like the likeliest scenario.
Amazon and Twitch will have an exclusive broadcast the day after Christmas featuring the Cardinals and 49ers. The NFL will gauge how this is received. The game will be produced by CBS. An Amazon spokeswoman did not return an email seeking comment.
Apple could be another digital player involved, but there is less buzz around it at the moment. Amazon has the advantage of already being partners with the NFL as it owns the digital rights to “Thursday Night Football.” Those games also air on NFL Network.
Sunday NFL Ticket is also in play as it is not expected to remain on DirecTV. Amazon, ESPN+ and possibly Apple+ are seen as the leading candidates for the subscription rights to all the Sunday games. The NFL could sell this package to multiple carriers as opposed to $1.5 billion per year DirecTV’s exclusive contract.
The NFL is expected to have signed agreements with its partners in early 2021. ESPN’s MNF contract concludes at the end of the 2021-22 season, while the other three networks, as well as the DirecTV agreement, have their current rights through the 2022-23 campaign.
Holiday Clicker Books
Josh Mendelsohn’s “The Cap: How Larry Fleisher and David Stern built the Modern NBA” does what its title says, explaining how the salary structure of the NBA came to be. For it, Papa Clicker gives it a 4.2 out of 5 rating.
For your holiday shopping list, here are all the 4.5 or more rating given by Papa Clicker for the year: “Wheels of Courage” by David Davis (4.55), “Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original” by Mitchell Nathanson (4.55) “No Way but to fight: George Foreman and the Business of Boxing,” (4.55), “Yogi: A Life behind the Mask” by Jon Pessah (4.5) and “Tanking to The Top” by Yaron Weitzman (4.5).
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